Airy disk


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Airy disk

The best focused spot of light that can be created by a perfect lens system, assuming a circular aperture and limited by light diffraction. The disk is surrounded by concentric rings known as an Airy pattern. Since the disk is the smallest unit that makes up the image of a luminous or absorbing object—formed by a corrected microscope lens in focus—the radius of the disk determines the limit of resolution of the lens system or microscope.
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At the focus the image of a star appears as a small bright disk surrounded by concentric rings of diminishing brightness, known as Airy disk or diffraction spot.
This is accomplished by collecting emission photons that normally are rejected by the emission side pinhole, traditionally used at the 1 airy disk size.
Graney suggested in 2008 that Galileo's observations of stars were actually diffraction patterns called Airy disks - patterns of concentric circles that arise when light from a point source, such as a star, passes through a hole.